Curns


Classic Curns
Classic Curns

There are people that come into your life that profoundly impact you! Curns is the single most profound man ever to impact my life!

Curns just turned 70 years old this last month. He is an old fart! He is one of those guys you can call an old fart because he is about as secure a man as I have ever met. Plus if he wanted to kill you he just would. Curns is black and white, love or hate,  just a clear thinking old history teacher with a penchant for the Indian Wars. He taught on the Sioux Rez and the Navajo Rez and was dearly loved on both! He has great sayings like “dig deep puppy on bottom” from his days eating with the Sioux and great stories from his childhood. Curns saved my life once…and grabbed a bucket for me to puke in after I drank too much Tequila. He nicknamed me “bucket boy” cause I was puking in the bucket! Curns knows my secrets and I know some of  his! It is a friendship that few ever develop! Cigars and good whiskey!

Curns was in Vietnam. The bucket boy night – he told me stories I will never repeat. He explained things that I will never experience – like if a guy in his squad was a screw-up and might get them all killed – they shot him in the leg and sent him home. Of Course, this was told in detail – fascinating detail! He told me how he came home from Vietnam and was pretty strung out. He carried a big 357 mag everywhere he went – even to a barn dance where he was walking across the dance floor drew his 357 spun around and fired into the rafters. The music stopped, the dancing stopped, and a rat dropped from the rafters…not a Vietnamese soldier but ya get the point.63546_1460725531060_7853322_n

Curns served our country. He never told me about any medals or any awards – although I am sure there are a few! But he did remind me the other day of my favorite Curns story! I wish I could remember it better but it goes something like this –

This fat lady would walk a 1/2 mile to the post office everyday – down a path that cut past Curns childhood home on the prarie. She would waddle her way down the path with her big ole rolls rolling along. Curns and his buddy thought it would be fun to see if she could run! Curns hid in the tall grass one day and began to pepper her with his BB Gun. Well she took off running proving that a fat lady can run! But the best part of the story is classic old skool America – when Curns dad came home from work that night he walked in and took Curns’  BB gun and wrapped it around a tree!

Curns and I have shared many many stories – and a couple odd supernatural occurrences on the Rez. I owe him my life and wonder how many others do too – Curns is a man like they used to make men…and this is my way of saying thanks for standing up for me when my chips were down. I never forget that day!

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11 thoughts on “Curns

  1. What a fantastic story, Hoss. Curns sounds like an amazing man. I love your lines at the beginning, about how you can call him an “old fart” because he’s so secure… Sounds like an amazing friendship—we all need people like Curns in our lives—though it’s tragic to hear about what Vietnam did to him. War is terrible. Great post!… No more than that. Some things just can’t be described, ya know?

  2. Kelly Wagner

    Ha, you know the man well! He was my history teacher and track coach in good old Wessington, SD. I was just a wee one and he had his way of watching over me, yet teaching me a few lessons. His son, also called Curns, is a chip off the old block. To our dismay, Curns was in our history class with Mr. Curns. Of course, Curns was all about getting out of work and teaching us young pups about respect. Mr. Curns would allow us each one note card per test. I was the master to be able to fit pages and pages of notes. Curns didn’t take a note though he received his daily lectures. Anyway, somehow Curns managed to get me to make him a note card. Unfortunately for me, I always did his card better than my own!! I would know I wrote the info but couldn’t find it, time would be coming to a close, I’m sweating trying to finish and Curns sat relaxed in his chair waiting to leave. Mr. Curns would give me his evil grin just to ensure he knew, yet I think he was fairly happy I helped his son through class…haha. Then Curns and my big sister let me tag along one time after a school concert. They were suppose to be studying, instead, we were booze cruising. My first time to ever get intoxicated. Curns didn’t show up for school that day and by the end of the day, I knew exactly why…Mr. Curns ran our tails off in track practice. I thought I would die. Needless to say a word was never spoken, but I again received the famous evil grin. Lesson learned….if you’re going to do the crime, be ready to do the crime.

  3. Lisa Anson

    I taught with Orvel in Bison, SD, and your story made me smile. He brought a lot of fun into our little school–along with a lot of knowledge and experience. I think the quality I most admire about Orvel is that he had lived and done a lot, but he never bragged or played the, “Oh, I can do one better than that.” He never wanted the accolades he deserved–he was one of the most knowledgeable teachers I have ever taught with because it wasn’t just curriculum for him. He always gave his best for the students. He wasn’t a teacher for the paycheck–he loved to impart wisdom, knowledge, and that not everything could be found in a textbook (matter of fact, the most important knowledge in life is found through experience–I miss teachers like Orvel today!) And he did have some great sayings, most of which I cannot repeat here! Great writing to commemorate a great man!

    1. I so agree on not being able to repeat many of the “sayings” I should have included my other favorite story – I guess we all will just have to gather his quotes and stories…this one story is about a musket in class!

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